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Non-VAT impact of a no-deal Brexit for UK businesses

16 October 2019


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Discussion on the impact of a no-deal Brexit has focused upon the movement of goods between the EU and the UK, but there are potential issues for service providers also.  Certain professions or service providers face greater regulatory risks including those providing legal, financial or medical services from the UK. The UK government recently issued a document, linked below.

The potential risks associated with a no-deal Brexit are briefly summarised below.  It is not possible to give more detailed information, which is provided in country specific guides within the document.

  • Potential restrictions on the ability of a UK person or company to own, manage or direct a company established in the European Economic Area (EEA), which is the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein
  • Is your employees UK professional qualification recognised within the EU? Most likely to have an impact upon architects, IT providers, health professionals, teachers and engineers. It is likely that standard bodies in the EU and UK will make moves to recognise each other’s qualifications but this may take some time to put in place, during which time workers may face difficulties.
  • Licences or authorisations to trade, or nationality requirements to provide certain services.
  • UK workers who reside in the EEA. The rights of UK citizens to live and work in the EU will depend on the country in which they reside, and the individual should consult that government’s post-Brexit guidelines. For example, Spain has stated that resident UK citizens at the time of Brexit will have the same rights as Spanish citizens following Brexit. The EU have stated that the decision on UK workers’ rights after Brexit rests with each member state and there is no common EU policy.  Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein will replicate UK policy.
  • Social security contributions (both employee and employer) across the EU may change and HMRC has warned that there could be double contributions in certain circumstances where a UK employee remains in the UK system (national insurance) and is working in another EU country. HMRC has provided contact details for overseas social security agencies and advised UK employers sending employees to work in the EU to make contact and confirm the position locally. More information is expected on this.